Can the federal government authorize state spending without state legislative approval?

Last year, President Trump, by executive order, authorized governors to certify to the federal government by a certain date their interest in opting into the federal refugee resettlement program. Governor Lee decided to do so.

However, the General Assembly had previously rejected any involvement in the refugee resettlement program and sued the federal government because the federal program effectively obligated (commandeered) the state to appropriate state funds for government services to refugees.

The Tennessee Constitution delegates control over decisions and authority for setting the budge to the General Assembly. Does the President have the power to authorize a governor to act contrary to his or her state constitution, or state legislature? If a President seeks to provide that power, should a governor still comply with Tennessee’s Constitutional provisions regarding the separation of powers?

We asked all the candidates:

Can the federal government authorize state spending without state legislative approval?

These are were their answers:

The federal government cannot authorize a state’s governor to exercise an authority not given to the governor under the state’s Constitution and, in any event, a governor should adhere to the separation of powers under the state’s Constitution.

The following candidates answered this way.
Janice Bowling

Sen. Janice Bowling

Republican

Senate District 16

Glen Casada

Rep. Glen Casada

Republican

House District 63

Scott Cepicky

Rep. Scott Cepicky

Republican

House District 64

Vincent Cuevas

Vincent Cuevas

Republican

House District 92 Candidate

Tandy Darby

Tandy Darby

Republican

House District 76 Candidate

Elaine Davis

Elaine Davis

Republican

House District 13 Candidate

John Dawson

John Dawson

Republican

House District 67 Candidate

Esther Helton

Rep. Esther Helton

Republican

House District 30

Joey Hensley

Sen. Joey Hensley

Republican

Senate District 28

Matthew Hill

Rep. Matthew Hill

Republican

House District 7

Kelly Keisling

Rep. Kelly Keisling

Republican

House District 38

Tom Leatherwood

Rep. Tom Leatherwood

Republican

House District 99

Becky Duncan Massey

Sen. Becky Duncan Massey

Republican

Senate District 6

John McMahan

John McMahan

Republican

House District 76 Candidate

Lee Mills

Lee Mills

Republican

House District 99 Candidate

Brandon Ogles

Rep. Brandon Ogles

Republican

House District 61

Gina Oster

Gina Oster

Republican

House District 18 Candidate

Patricia Possel

Patricia Possel

Republican

House District 96 Candidate

Paul Rose

Sen. Paul Rose

Republican

Senate District 32

Paul Sherrell

Rep. Paul Sherrell

Republican

House District 43

John Stevens

Sen. John Stevens

Republican

Senate District 24

Jai Templeton

Jai Templeton

Republican

Senate District 26 Candidate

Jarvus Turnley

Jarvus Turnley

Democrat

House District 66 Candidate

Terri Lynn Weaver

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver

Republican

House District 40

Ryan Williams

Rep. Ryan Williams

Republican

House District 42

Presidential executive orders take precedence over state law.

No candidates have given this answer.

I am unsure.

The following candidates answered this way.
Diane Canada

Diane Canada

Republican

House District 56 Candidate

Ronnie Holden

Ronnie Holden

Republican

House District 47 Candidate

Other

The following candidates gave their own answers

"Federal law usually takes precedence over state law, but I am unsure about a president’s executive orders. I would need to research this before I can comment. "

Carol Abney

Carol Abney

Republican Candidate

House District 38

"I sponsored a bill to require state and local approval before the Gov could consent;The federal government cannot authorize a state’s governor to exercise an authority not given to the governor under the state’s Constitution and, in any event, a governor should adhere to the separation of powers under the state’s Constitution."

Subscribe